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Michael Spiby of The Badloves playing Milanos, Melbourne Australia
Photo by Ros O'Gorman

The Badloves Call It Quits (Again)

By Paul Cashmere
Wed, 21 Jul 2010 08:15:22 +1000

The Badloves have broken up for a second time.

Keyboard player Tony Featherstone tells Undercover that it all came to a head yesterday although his has been brewing for a few months. "It actually happened a few months ago but we were committed to do some shows at Lizottes and we didn't want to promote these as the "last gigs", he says. "I think people are a bit tired of these bands that go out there and say "hey we're breaking up but we'd really like to make some money before we do, so please come to our shows". We were already committed to doing these Lizottes shows and Brian Lizotte is one of the great supporters of live music in Australia and a great guy, so we wanted to keep that commitment. We tried our best to put on a brave face and a good show, but it did feel a bit flat to me. Although, from all the feedback I got, the punters loved the shows".

The proverbial "indifferences" finished The Badloves off for a second time. "The guys just couldn't agree on a direction really," he said. "The band members were getting more involved in management issues and not agreeing on them. We jokingly said after the last show "this isn't so bad, we could this every now and then" to which Michael replied "yeah, forget about it!" so while it was all in good spirits, I know he has absolutely had enough".

The Badloves formed in Melbourne in 1990 and signed to Mushroom Records in 1992. The debut album 'Get On Board' in 1993 featured the hits 'Lost', 'I Remember', 'Green Limousine' and 'Memphis'.

That same year, The Badloves also covered The Band's 'The Weight' with Jimmy Barnes.

Album two 'Holy Roadside' featuring 'Caroline', 'Slave', 'Living Thing' and 'Barefoot Bride' was released in 1995. There was the live album 'Everybody Everywhere' in 1996.

Then in 1998, it was all over … for the first time. "The break up in the 90s was a case of natural attrition really," Tony said. "It was the usual case of being locked in a Tarago for 5 years driving around the country and we had just had enough. By the end of the 90s the band had completely fragmented to the point where on the bands 3rd studio album '14' Michael, Jak and John were all singing leads on their own songs. In fact you only have to listen to that album to hear why the band broke up - it is dreadful. I have one leveling out a wonky leg on my kitchen table at home".

"Plus, Michael and Jak both started work on solo projects which seemed to take forever so I think the band also lost some momentum in the process".

In September 2008, The Badloves reformed with Michael Spiby, John Favaro, Tony Featherstone, Jak Housden and Dave Hibbard. "Jak and I went to the bridge hotel in Sydney to see Michael do a solo show and we got up on stage and performed virtually the entire Badloves set with him," Tony said. "That made us all think " this could be fun " and the 4 people that were in the audience that night agreed that the band should reunite. It took another year or so, but we eventually started doing gigs again which lead to the ill-fated conversations about recording another album and making a John Farnham style return".

Plans for a new album have been abandoned with this current break-up. "The band did start the process of making a new album however nothing came from those sessions that was deemed worthy," he said. "For whatever reason things were just not feeling right. I guess its a bit like getting back together with an old girlfriend.... you think about all the great times you had and how nice it would be to spend time with her again.... only after the first weekend with her you remember what an absolute pain in the arse she is and nothing has changed. In fact, she's worse than ever and she's gained 2 stone".

He says that in a nice way meaning "The personalities in this band are very strong and very stubborn. Rightly so to some degree. I consider Michael and Jak to be easily two of the best musicians in the country".

R.I.P. The Badloves (again).
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